tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 4, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PDT
cancer clinics are turning away some patients saying that forced spending cuts are now to blame. plus, he spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit. how this man is now playing in the nfl. and her face says she can only show her face, hands and feet, but her job needs her to show off a lot more skin. this muslim bikini model pushing the rules of modesty. this is "cnn newsroom" and i'm suzanne malveaux. it is lunchtime. so if fast food's on your mind, think twice if you're in new york because hundreds of workers were talking about mcdonald's,
wendy's, pizza hut, kfc, they're on strike. it's a one-day strike. they're staging a similar protest that happened back in november. bottom line, they want more pay. zain asher's in new york. all right, zain, i guess if you want a big mack, hold off and wait for a day. folks say they are not being paid enough. how much are they getting? >> well, they're getting $7.25 an hour. they pretty much want to double their pay. if they can't do that, they simply want more. $7.25 is the new york state minimum wage. these workers want $15 an hour. they're saying the present wage is not enough to live on. one woman who spoke to cnn said she had a 3-year-old son, she just wants health insurance, medical benefits, that kind of thing. another young gentleman says he can't afford to move out of his parents house. a lot of people saying $7.25 is simply too low to be paid, suzanne. >> you can't blame them. i mean, i don't know how you live on $18,000 in new york city. >> exactly. >> how are the big food chains
responding here? does it look like they are willing to give up a little more? >> well, right now it's too early to tell, but they are arguing back. they're saying that wages are fair and consistent with the industry. also saying many of their restaurants are actually owned and operated by franchises. so that means that they don't necessarily have direct control over wages. mcdonald's told us "employees are paid competitive wages and have access to a range of benefits to meet their individual needs. employees who want to go from crew to management can take advantage of a variety of training opportunities as well." similar sentiment from yum brands who owns kfc as well, suzanne. >> all right. so what happens to these guys? i mean, they're protesting today. do they go back to work tomorrow and still paid like, you know, the minimum wage $18,000 a year if that? >> i mean, obviously they hope they're not going to get fired. here's the thing, according to the national labor relations act, workers are obviously allowed to organize their
collective bargaining rights are protected. but if they are protesting purely for economic reasons, they can actually be let go. in this case obviously they want double pay. so we'll have to watch closely to see what happens. but in this case you know the media spotlight could obviously protect them. also want to mention that hiring and firing decisions are up to each individual franchise owner. so we will have to see because there could be a variety of reaction. one protester told cnn that he doesn't expect to get fired, but that if he does it will be worth it. that's what he said to us, suzanne. >> it's nothing personal for somebody not to get a big mac or fried chicken for a day, but clearly do you have any sense of how much these companies are losing? is it in the billions of dollars over one day? >> well, i have to look into that and get back to you. but, you know, in manhattan alone today the restaurant we went to had hundreds of people protesting outside it. in november there was probably half of that. so these collective bargaining
movements are getting stronger. definitely they are losing money. i will have to get back to you about how much exactly. >> all right. zain asher, thank you very much. appreciate it. cancer clinics now across the country are being hit hard by the forced spending cuts. they are now having to turn away medicare patients. and lisa sylvester is joining us from d.c. to explain why it's happening and how it's affecting some treatments especialspecifi when you talk about chemotherapy people need. >> the quester cuts took effect for medicare on april 1st and it was a 2% reduction in payments to medicare providers. but this is hitting those clinics particularly hard. the reason is that cancer drugs have to be administered by a doctor. so that 2% cut, well, it has to come from somewhere. and if you think about it this way, the price of the drug is fixed. so then it has to come directly from the clinic's overhead. and what many cancer clinics are saying is, look, we just can't
continue to afford to treat patients and stay in business. so what is this going to mean? well, patients are already being turned away. and some of them will then have to seek treatment at hospitals. and as we know that is much more expensive. one study, suzanne, shows it will cost about $6,500 more a year for a patient to be treated at a hospital instead of a clinic, suzanne. >> so what should these patients do? i mean it really sounds like this is a very difficult situation they're in. >> well, i should mention this also that there is another issue which is, will these hospitals even be able to handle the increased patient load. right now the community oncology alliance, the group that represents these clinics, they're asking lawmakers to please give us a break. please exempt the cancer drugs from the sequester. and think about it this way, you're dealing with cancer and on top of this the place you've been going for your treatment you're being told you can't go there anymore. you have to find a hospital. hospital, new doctor, everything
else. it's a real mess, suzanne. >> lisa, thank you. appreciate it. president obama, he is actually giving up a chunk of his own paycheck to show support for workers who have been hit with the federal furlough. the white house now confirms that the president he is going to return 5% of his salary to the u.s. treasury every month. he's going to write a personal check since his salary is set in law, can't be changed. so the president's whole contribution will amount to about $20,000. that's because he gets paid $400,000 a year. defense secretary chuck hagel also said he's going to take a pay cut to show solidarity with the workers in the defense department. north korea now cranking up the tough talk another notch today. this is directly accusing the united states of actively pursuing a nuclear war. u.s. officials say they have reason to believe that the north koreans will soon launch a missile off their east coast possibly as a test, possibly as a show of force. but the pentagon says u.s.
military defense missile systems and people are on their way now to guam right now. this is an island that north korea calls a possible target. tonight, at 6:00 eastern wolf blitzer will host a special edition of "the situation room" focusing entirely on this crisis in north korea. you're not going to want to miss that. here's what we're also working on for this hour. ronald reagan's daughter says he would have supported same sex marriage. and she tells us why. and in texas everyone pretty much still on edge after a district attorney and his wife shot down, killed in their own home. now, there's a new reward. plus, living out his dream after spending years in prison for a crime he did not commit, brian banks gets a second chance at playing in the nfl.
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so what would ronald reagan do? his daughter patty davis says she thinks he would support allowing gays and lesbians to marry and wonder what all the fuss is about. i want to bring in our candy crowley. what do you think matters now? if in fact people are weighing in saying the former president, i think he would also support this as well. >> if there are conservatives who think that this is an issue whose time has come, ronald reagan is still the icon, the go-to guy for politicians who are running for president or most anything else on the republican side he's kind of seen as, you know, the guy who had it all right. so, you know, perhaps it gives them some cover. but it's probably more of just, you know, an argument that supports those who are kind of already feeling that same sex marriage is an issue as time has come. >> candy, i want to read some examples we have from his daughter patty davis why she thinks her father would have supported same sex marriage. this is from a "new york times"
article. she points to first of all distaste for government intrusion into people's private lives, his hollywood acting career and also a close relationship -- friendship he had with a lesbian couple who cared for her and her younger brother when they were kids back in the day. do you think that it adds any credence here to the potential that he would have pushed for it on this social issue? >> i think i would probably quibble with push forward. patty davis know her father better than i knew him. she's obviously telling you a lot of things. he came from a hollywood background that tends to be more liberal background particularly on social issues. there were certainly gays in hollywood he would have known during his acting days. but let me point out that ronald reagan was also a strong component of prayer in schools, a strong opponent of abortion. he wanted a, as i recall, a constitutional amendment that
would ban all abortions with some exceptions, i think. but when he got into office, i will say abortion was not an issue that he chose to push. and generally he wanted to be seen as the guy who came in and changed the shape of government. he was not keen on pushing social issues, but understood very well the political value of those social issues in a party where conservatives still have social issues that are foremost on their minds. so politically he understood that balance. so, you know, regardless of how he might have felt, i think he would have balanced the politics of this as well. and i think you can make a case in this day and age, not ronald reagan's day and age, but in this day and age the balance of the politics is turning. >> yeah. and certainly in his day and age too he got a lot of criticism for being slow to react to hiv and aids crisis in the gay community as well. so a lot of people wondering
all right. so usually don't think of muslim and bikini in the same sentence, but this story is about whether or not your job is at odds with your religion. we're talking to a woman who explores faith as well as fashion. >> reporter: being photographed on the beach in a swim suit may be just another day at the office for most fashion models, not for miraim. >> i grew up in a muslim family with a very strict muslim household. >> what does that mean? >> i was raised to believe that you can only show your face, your hands and your feet. everything else should be covered. >> reporter: which is why her evolution to bikini model is so shocking to some and seemingly a contradiction. >> i never had aspirations to be a bikini model. what happened is there was a security guard actually at a bank who was just like, you know, are you a model? i'm like, no, and then he's like, well, you should try it. the work started rushing in.
>> reporter: both as a model and actress. here she is on "30 rock." >> hey, you and your friend want to party later? >> what do you think, baby? >> reporter: decadent is putting it lightly. >> you don't necessarily know. what you're wearing is not like, oh, bikini models needed. i never went after that stuff. >> reporter: did you ever have an internal struggle about that? >> of course. i have internal struggles every day about different things. you know, about just life, about making decisions. the thing that i didn't want to do is say, okay, i'm not muslim anymore. >> reporter: wlahat's more, she not only a practicing muslim who prays five times a day, her father is an imam, a religious leader. and he, no surprise, does not approve of his daughter's job telling the "new york observer" you can't just make up your own rules. it's unislamic for a woman to
display her body. that's not debatable. >> faith and practice are related, but they are not the same thing. if you say you are muslim and you believe in everything muslim says and you practice nothing, you are still muslim. but if you practice everything and yet you reject one principle of islam, you can't be islam. >> reporter: does it make you any less faithful? >> no. it makes me who i am. i think that allah god is the only one who walks through your life with you and sees your decisions you make. and no one person can judge me. i just don't accept it. >> reporter: for now that means covering up in prayer and showing off her body on the job. cnn, new york. and this next one, people pretty curious, right, how stars look without makeup. we've seen them from time and time again.
this is actually barbie, as in the barbie doll, o natural, bags under her eyes, acne scars on her face and braces. the picture went viral after being posted on an image sharing website. the reaction surprisingly overwhelmingly negative. poor barbie, can't get a break. normally criticized for being too perfect. and imagine spending more than five years in prison for a crime you did not commit. well, brian banks, he lived through that nightmare. and things are now starting to turn around for him. he just learned that he's going to be playing for the nfl. we're going to talk to him up next.
the u.s. is not the only country where the debate over same sex marriage is now playing out. there has been a dramatic shift in public opinion here and in other countries also grappling with the issue. the question of course, whether or not the rest of the world is following or leading? in france today the senate takes
up a bill that would give same sex couples the right to marry and adopt children. the lower house has already approved it. but the catholic church, other religious groups and social conservatives, they oppose the measure. the last thing carnival cruise company needs is bad news, but there is bad news. rough weather ripping the cruise ship triumph from a repair dock in mobile, alabama. so what happened? the ship floated down river, crunched into a pier and wound up with a gash on the side. triumph was the cruise liner that broke down in the gulf of mexico back in february leaving 3,000 passengers in miserable conditions for several days. well, high winds yesterday knocked a security guard into the water as well. and he has not yet been found. lance armstrong trying to return to sports, but he is encountering lots of resistance now. armstrong, he now wants to compete in a masters swim meet this weekend in austin.
but the sports international governing body is asking organizers to reject armstrong's entry. armstrong has been stripped of seven tour de france titles and banned from competitive cycling because of doping. you might remember ryan banks, he is the star high school football linebacker who spent five years in prison for a crime he did not commit. a classmate claimed he kidnapped and raped her. well, she later admitted that she lied. with the help from the california innocence project, banks won a new trial and was cleared. after banks was released from prison, the seattle seahawks offered him a tryout and allowed him to workout at their practice facility. well now, the atlanta falcons, they have signed the 27-year-old banks. he's joining us live from seattle. congratulations to you, brian. this is a new chance, a new lease on life. how are you feeling? how are you doing? >> i'm good. thank you for the congrats.
i'm really just still taking it all in. but i'm feeling really good today. >> now, you are 27. there are some younger guys of course you're going to be competing with. do you feel like you've got the training? you've got enough to be competitive? >> most definitely. i mean, i know i've been out of the game for ten years, but at the same time i have no injuries, no setbacks. i've been just working out really hard twice a day with glazer, athletic gains, we put in a lot of workday in and day out to get me caught up and actually further myself and make this dream come true. >> we see the video there of a lot of the training you've been doing, the preparations here. you spent five years in prison and five years on probation, clearly ten years out of the mix. and what you did best, what you really did well here, do you ever have a sense of bitterness, of anger, when you move forward and think about the last ten years of your life?
yeah. you know, today, no. i sit here a free man, healthy. you know, my family and friends are in full support. i have my life back. there was a point in my life where i was very angry and i had a lot of negative emotions that, you know, filled me. but it was just really holding me back as a person and wanting to better myself i had to let a lot of that stuff go. i understand how people feel when they initially hear what has happened. and i don't fault people for the way they feel. but i will allow my supporters to have those feelings while i just continue to focus on my future. >> and how do you deal with that? do you ever want to look back and give a message to the person who accused you? who wrongly put you in jail for that period of your life? >> no. i don't have a message. i thank god that, you know, she
came forward. i thank god that i was able to serve five years in prison and exit still mentally sane and physically and emotionally still attached. so i just look forward to what's to come. i'm thankful for where i am today. and i'm also thankful for every experience that i've experienced in life because it's made me who i am today. >> talk about the california innocence project because i know that was really key in changing your life and that you were able to work with that group and they were able to identify you as someone who was innocent. >> right. well, i wouldn't be here today as an innocent and free man if it wasn't for the california innocence project and justin brooks and all the great work that they do. it's important that projects such as the california innocence project and other innocence projects around the nation in other places around the world that we bring light to these organizations. there are people behind bars for crimes that they didn't commit.
we have to help these people. their lives have been taken away. and i know all too well what it feels like to see your life pass before you, to see life continuing without you having any part of it for a crime that you didn't commit. i really want people to get involved with the innocence project. >> all right. brian, we wish you the very best. congratulations. we want you to, you know, kick some butt there. >> thank you very much. >> living in atlanta, we want you to represent, all right? >> will do. thank you so much. >> thank you again. appreciate having you. >> thank you. $200,000 reward, not many clues now. people are high alert, this is in texas. they are searching still for killers of two prosecutors. she'e to brighten your day. it's just her way. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready.
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trying to find out why a 37-year-old man shot and killed a west virginia sheriff who was just eating lunch in his car. well, eugene crum was cracking down on drug dealers. the suspect is identified as melvin maynard. cnn confirmed he spent time in a state hospital for mental health issues at some point within the last couple of years. well, the reward fund is now growing even bigger in the search for those who killed two texas prosecutors. just last hour governor rick perry announced that his office is putting up $100,000 reward on top of another $100,000 offered by the kaufman county crime stoppers. perry says he is confident that somebody is going to come forward. >> we cannot react with fear. we got to react with resolve. and our local state and federal
authorities are pursuing every lead exhausting every line of inquiry in a relentless pursuit for those responsible for these crimes. we have full confidence that this investigation will lead to the conviction of whoever perpetrated these insidious crimes. >> our own george howell is in kaufman, texas. first of all, george, why is the governor so confident that they're going to find these guys, these killers? >> reporter: suzanne, the governor is certainly confident in the team. it's a multi-agency team looking into this case. also confident with the strategy. during this news conference we saw that they will start putting up billboards. we saw a mock-up inside the building. the mock-up shows of course mark and mike and his wife cynthia mclelland, shows their pictures, phone number to call, the governor is confident rather that people will call in and continue to give tips in this
case. investigators are not giving any insight, not giving us any indication as to which direction they're going. whether they have a lot of information they're just not sharing or whether they don't have anything at all, it's unclear. but we do know that they are getting, suzanne, a lot of leads in this case. flooded with leads. and that is good news. also during this news conference for the first time we heard from the new interim district attorney for kaufman county randy hernandez. given the environment out here, you can imagine it's a difficult role to fill since mike mclelland's death, but i asked her what is it like to step in and take over that job. let's listen. >> whenever a prosecutor takes office, whether it be a district attorney or assistant district attorney, we take an oath to serve the community. and i'll tell you that every prosecutor in this office is stepping up to the plate to uphold that oath. and i'm going to be here beside them. and they've all agreed to stay
here beside me. grant it we're unnerved a little bit, but we're going to stick to our oath. and we're showing up to work every single day to fulfill that oath, serve this community. >> reporter: and also important to note that brandi fer nan dez herself also will have 24-hour around the clock security as many other prosecutors we're learning are doing in the wake of these murders. brandi fernandez will fill that role for the next 21 days until governor rick perry appoints a new d.a. for this county. >> i can only imagine how nervous she is in that position she has now. george, i know there is also of course people thinking about mike mclelland and his wife cynthia, memorial service is being held. what can you tell us about that today? >> well, we know that a lot of people will be there. governor rick perry leaving this courthouse to attend that service. and brandi fernandez put it best in this news conference. she said when you think of mike
mclelland, especially this particular office, a small -- close-knit office, she still expects mike to walk in the office with cookies. she described him as a leader of the office. a lot of people really looked up to him in this office even in this community. people describe him as a standup person. a person a lot of people knew and respected. you can bet a lot of people will be there to remember him and his wife. >> yeah, a tribute to both of them. thank you very much, george. appreciate it. a new york cop now busted for allegedly leading a group of armed robbers, actually stealing money, marijuana and cocaine from drug dealers.
north korea cranking up the tough talk another notch today directly accusing the united states of actively pursuing a nuclear war. u.s. officials say they have reason to believe that the north koreans will soon launch a missile off their east coast, possibly as a test, possibly as a show of force. well, the pentagon says u.s. military missile defense systems and people are on their way to guam right now. it's an island that north korea calls a possible target. tonight, 6:00 eastern wolf blitzer's going to host a special edition of "the situation room" focusing entirely on what is taking place, the crisis in north korea. you're not going to want to miss that. and calling all tech fans in menlo park, california.
that's right. facebook announcing its new home on android. ceo mark zuckerberg wearing a hoody of course as he usually does telling reporters moments ago live and streaming on the web while facebook is not making its own phone, it looks to be providing a new type of phone service. it is basically a bunch of apps called facebook home. more and more folks are using smartphones to get on facebook, checking in an average now we are told 14 times a day. so, living together, is that the new engagement ring? now a new study finding almost half of women in the u.s. lived with a partner first before being married. and what's really interesting is that unmarried couples who live together also stay together longer. and more of them are having children. put it in to perspective here. in 1995 only 34% of first unions were couples who, well, lived together. researchers at the national center for health statistics talked with more than 12,000
women from 2006 to 2010. new york police officer with 17 years on the force, well, he is now in jail. our legal analyst sunny hostin is with us to explain. we know his name, we haven't seen a picture yet, but give us a sense of who this guy is and the bizarre charges here. >> well, his name is jose tajada and he is a 17-year veteran of the nypd, new york city police department. he has been indicted on three accounts. and they are very, very strong charges against this particular officer. he has been accused of selling narcotics and most importantly robbing drug dealers to do so and providing a drug crew -- a violent drug crew, with nypd equipment so they could pretend
to be police officers in carrying out these alleged crimes. very, very sad day for the nypd here. i will say though that this comes on the heels of a multi-agency investigation. the nypd was involved in investigating their own. and we have some sound from the commissioner of the nypd police department. >> -- he is accused of being involved in three robberies. the targets were drug dealers for the most part. obviously, it's sad and disappointing any time a police officer is arrested. but this officer has been on modified duty for three years. so this investigation has taken a long time to come to fruition. and it's still not over. but it is what it is. and the officer has been suspended and we'll see what the
outcome of the trial is. >> reporter: and the officer is not the only one to have been charged in this case. two other nypd officers were convicted of these crimes. i'm standing as you see in front of the federal courthouse here in brooklyn. officer tajada will be arraigned today at 2:00 p.m. what is going to be a fight is that the government wants him held pending trial. they say he is a danger to the community and that he is also a flight risk because he has property in the dominican republic and visited there ten times over the past ten years. >> sunny, real quickly here, why are the feds involved in this case? >> well, it's called a hobbs act violation. there was sort of interstate involvement here. when you have this amount of money, we're talking about 250 kilograms of cocaine, $1 million, interstate commerce drug trafficking, the feds get involved in that kind of case. >> all right. sunny hostin, good to see you as
always. kefb kevin ware, says he's doing just fine. this man from the ncaa louisville team broke his leg, had his bone actually sticking out of his leg just a few days ago, over the weekend. but the one thing that he wants now, he says, is another call from the first lady. we're going to explain. flying is old hat for business travelers.
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really? looks like a circus tent. is that the best you got? now if you put this, with this, you have a sailboat. what's in your wallet? all eyes on atlanta today. the final four begins in just two days. that is right here in the georgia dome. louisville taking on wichita state in the first game happening on saturday. and michigan squares off against syracuse in a final game. the winners play for the -- all the marbles on monday. the story line leading back to the horrific injury to louisville guard kevin ware. ware, you'll remember, he broke his leg so severely that the bone pushed through his skin and
brought his teammates and coaches to tears, shocked everybody who had a chance to watch that. well, ware underwent surgery. and two days later returned to his hometown atlanta to watch his team compete in the final four. ware told our rachel nichols that he will return to play. his mother was at his side as he described the injury. >> reporter: first of all, tell us about the leg. how much pain are you in right now? >> i'm actually fine really. it might hurt here and there. the actual part where the bone came out. but i've been fine. i've been trying to walk as much as i can, you know. >> reporter: listen to what you just said, you know, the part where the bone came out. i mean, this is surreal. can you describe for me what it was like when this happened to you, what you first thought? take me through that moment. >> i guess i landed completely wrong. honestly, i felt like it hurt like i thought it was a cord
that went across. but it turned out to be my knee, you know. coach gave me one of those looks like somebody just saw a ghost or something like that. and i'm looking at him like, yo know, confused. i looked down at my leg, and it's kind of like my arm. i see my sneaker on, but my leg is like this, so i just go into automatic shock. >> reporter: did you realize that was your bone sticking out of your leg? >> i did, but my first instinct was like i can't start crying, i can't do this right now. i'm thinking in my head, what can i do? i'm yelling, i'm telling him, yo, got to win this game. i don't care what y'all do, win this game. i'm going to be good, i'm going to be okay. >> reporter: have you seen picture of this, video of it? >> i've seen a picture, quick glance of it, i turn away from it. i kind of feel like me trying to get back on the basketball court, that would just stop me
from getting where i need to be. i don't want to see the video, don't plan on seeing the video, honestly. >> reporter: you don't think 20 years from now you're going to see what everybody else is talk about something. >> never want to see the video. >> you've seen the replay, what kevin doesn't want to look at. i guess this was probably in slow motion, right, you were out of the room watching the game when he got hurt? >> i was at the friend's house, we were watching the game. it had happened, and when i looked at the tv, all i saw was the team on the floor, laying on the floor, peopling looking distraught. i'm trying to figure out who got hurt. when they showed the replay of it and then i heard somebody say i think he broke his leg, i just lost it. >> reporter: this is your baby. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: you're his mom. i'm a mom. i can't imagine what that must have felt like for you. >> the time spent suffering and anguish waiting for a phone call was enough that i thank god it
wasn't longer. >> reporter: your coach, rick pitino came straight from the game and brought the trophy. >> i don't even remember. i was on so much medication, you know. i saw the pictures of them putting the trophy by my side and me sleeping with it. i was very proud. >> reporter: you got phone calls from everyone. >> everyone. >> reporter: but the first lady, michelle obama called you, and rick pitino said you're the coolest guy he knows. he said, the president calling you, okay, fine, what he calls sports people, but michelle obama? >> i'm sad, i honestly don't even remember speaking to her. that's what they were telling me, she called. please, if she called, please, call again. i really would appreciate it. it's a once in a lifetime thing, you know. i know the president kind of picked us to lose to indiana in his bracket, but i forgive him when i speak to him in the white house, i'll forgive him. >> all right. he wants another call. that's all right. ware's coach, rick pitino, says
he believes ware is going to be back on the court as early as next season. it's been 45 years since martin luther king jr. was assassinated while fighting for the rights of sanitation workers. those workers, they are still fighting for their jobs. up next. [ male announcer ] from the way the bristles move to the way they clean, once you try an oral-b deep sweep power brush, you'll never want to go back. its dynamic power bristles reach between teeth to remove up to 76% more plaque than sonic in hard to reach areas. oral-b deep sweep 5000 power brush. in hard to reach areas. great first gig! let's go! party! awwwww... arigato! we are outta here!
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sanitation workers. he marched with those men, whose wages were so low they needed welfare to supplement their income. well, the next day, king was killed. now, four decades later, their struggle for jobs continues. memphis sanitation workers, they are battling the city government to prevent private companies from taking over their jobs. lee saunders represents the sanitation union, he is president of the american federation of state, county, and municipal employees and joins us from memphis. very good to see you. thank you for joining us here. you were elected last year as the union's first african-american president. it was something that surprised all of us that it was a first, it's taken that long for that to happen, but you say the main problem now, the big problem here, is the move for government jobs to be privatized and it's really threatening the workers' livelihood, sanitation workers. can you tell us how? >> well, privatization is affecting members, not only in memphis, tennessee, but all over the country, but unfortunately
here in memphis, the mayor is looking at privatizing sanitation workers' jobs, he's looking at privatizing the custodian workers jobs at the school districts. we think that's the wrong move and we'd like to sit down and discuss these kinds of issues and work out some kind of agreement that benefits our members and benefits the communities and community in memphis, tennessee. unfortunately, the mayor is not respecting the collective bargaining process, so we've got to make our voices heard, and we've got to organize and mobilize and educate our communities here in memphis to talk about the issues that confront working families in this city. >> i want viewers to know, we're seeing pictures of the rally that happened today. part of that movement that you're a part of here. king pointed to discrimination, obviously, as a motive to those held back at that time. do you think this is about a fight with big business and profit now? >> well, i think it's a battle
with the 1% who have a lot of wealth and power in this country. they are trying to gain more wealth and power at the expense of the 99%, who are trying to play by the rules every single day, put bread on the table, send their kids to school. the gap between those that have in the 1%, the gap, the wealth gap, is growing. is growing enormously. and that's unacceptable in this kind of country. that's unacceptable to what dr. king was talking about. we've got to have every opportunity, every american has got to have the opportunity to move toward that american dream and have an opportunity to put bread on the table every single day and make ends meet if they are playing by the rules. that's a difficulty that's occurring right now, not only in memphis, but across this country, where the unevenness that exists between the wealthy and working families, it's just so great that we've got to stop it. we've got to make our voices heard. >> tell us here, because we're seeing these beautiful pictures of martin luther king and the sanitation workers, 1,300 of
them who marched with king back in 1968. several of those men, they are still on the job today. can you tell us, we know they were inducted into the labor hall of fame in washington just last year. how are they doing? >> well, they are doing fine. it's amazing to me that we have eight sanitation workers here who are still performing their duties. their ages range from 70 to 78. it's not an easy job, make no mistake about it. it's a tough job, and to have them still on the job providing essential public services to the citizens of memphis is extremely important, and they need to be recognized for their service, and that's why we're fighting the mayor right now and urging him to get back to the table, bargain with us, and treat us as equals so we can resolve the problems. >> all right, mr. saunders, thank you very much for joining us today. we appreciate your time and wish the best to you, as well as those workers, those who marched with king so long ago. thank you, appreciate it. that's